Seattle transit authority to order 73 Proterra buses, will acquire 120 electric buses by 2020


King County Metro Transit, which serves metro Seattle, has announced plans to acquire 120 battery-electric buses by 2020. Up to 73 of these will be ordered from Proterra, at a cost of up to $55 million.

Eight of the buses are to go into service this year, and 12 more in 2019. In a pilot project funded in part by a $3.3-million grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low-or No-Emission Vehicle Deployment Program, last year Metro began running three all-electric buses on routes serving some of the county’s densest job centers, including the Microsoft campus and downtown Bellevue.

“King County has long been an innovator in clean vehicle technology,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Now, we’re dramatically expanding our zero-emission electric bus fleet and working with the industry to innovate and offer next generation vehicles that move people quietly and cleanly while helping meet our climate goals.”

Metro will acquire up to nine long-range electric buses from different manufacturers to test battery technology. The authority hopes to challenge the industry to produce buses that can travel farther, and also to develop 60-foot buses, better able to replace the articulated buses that make up 55 percent of its fleet.

“To better serve our customers, we want battery buses that travel longer distances and can carry more people,” said Metro Transit General Manager Rob Gannon. “We’re committed to expanding our battery bus fleet, and need the industry to accelerate development of standardized battery bus charging systems so they can work flexibly for any bus route, and also build more 60-foot-long articulated buses – which serve as the transit workhorses in King County.”



Source: Proterra

  • gizmowiz

    Longer means more battery space available and longer range. The future of transportation is all electrical. Fossil fuels should be banned worldwide by 2035. Hopefully anyway.

  • brian_gilbert

    I suggest busses not yet delivered are designed to be easily convertable to driverless operation. That means the manual steering gear being easily removable having been connected via a socket which can then connect to computer control unit. The socket connections can be based on the connections used in PRT systems such as those at Masdar in Abu Dhabi and Heathrow in London. Otherwise when the switch comes to ‘driverless’ the vehicles will probably need to be replaced.

    For the same reason bendy busses will not be worth buying for use after the switch to driverless. Better off with two busses as without a driver to pay they can give a better service than one long bus.

    Distance problems have already been solved by some bus and coach manufacturers. The vehicles get flash charged at some or all stops. Alternatively Battery size is varied to suit the length of the route.

  • EVman

    Not a good deal.
    400KW drivetrain system with a 282KWH battery back with a 160KW fast charge is well under $350K.
    That can get a vehicle that size almost 200 miles on one charge with lots of power.
    One thousand percent guarantee it is already being done for much less.

    • Zephyr

      I don’t know the details of this deal, because the article doesn’t go into it, but where I come from, we sell “things” of a similar nature, and support costs can exceed the cost of the end item if the period of performance is long enough. This deal could include extended warranties, spare parts, maintenance services, operator training, maintenance training, support equipment, tech support time, technical documentation packages, and any number of other things. Let’s not assume they’re getting shafted.